Editor’s Note: Paula was the winner of last year’s Operation Christmas Child Send Me contest. As the winner of our contest, she got to travel with a shoebox distribution team to Ecuador. Here is what Paula had to say after returning from her trip.
I saw and experienced many things while I was in Ecuador. This was my first trip out of the country. I saw the streets filled with signs that I couldn’t read, the country sides, the gracious Ecuadorian people, the homes, and how life was different there. I heard how some worked for just two dollars a day.
I saw the faces of beautiful children. On our first day at the work project site, I was surrounded by a bunch of them as they wanted to look at my camera. At the second distribution, as I was handing two little girls their boxes, they kissed my cheek. I think that it was meant as a “thank you!” At two of the distributions, I got to be the one who passed out candy to the kids. On the last distribution, I was surrounded by lots of children who held out their hands eagerly anticipating a piece of candy.
Our last distribution was like the icing on the cake for the week. The other distributions were great, but our last one was special. It was special for me because our translator read my letter that I wrote and also because I got to experience my girl opening her box that I had made. I will never forget when I handed out my last box at our last distribution on Thursday. My box was for the oldest girl category of 10-14 years old. The girl I gave my box to was named Lady Dianna. I will never forget sitting with Lady Dianna while she was opening her box. I will never forget the smile that appeared on her face when she saw something as simple as a comb in her box. She held it up to her hair and acted like she was brushing her hair. As Lady Dianna was looking at all the stuff in her box, another girl came and looked at what was in the box. She held up a pair of girls’ underwear, and had this huge grin on her face. It was hilarious.
I tremendously enjoyed the week in Quito, Ecuador. I enjoyed getting to know different people, the praise and worship time/ team devotions we had every morning, and seeing the special guest, Mincaye, one of the original Waorani tribesmen portrayed in the movie “End of the Spear.” I also enjoyed being on the Purple team and hanging out on the bus rides with our group.
I first want to thank the Lord for choosing me out of many people to go on this awesome trip with Operation Christmas Child. I know he has a great plan for my life, and it is so great to see how he is using these opportunities to mold me into the person he wants me to be. I have always had a heart for the orphans in Africa, and now after returning from Ecuador, I can’t wait to go out of the country again, to love and serve the orphans in Uganda.
Secondly, I would like to thank Threads for hosting this incredible “Send Me” contest. I have always wondered what it would be like to actually go in person and deliver the shoe boxes. Thank you, Threads, for giving me this opportunity.